Looking for Cinco de Mayo drinks? Here are all the best cocktails for celebrating: both margaritas and lots more!
Cinco de Mayo may not be formally celebrated in Mexico. But in America, it’s a day for celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. And what better way to do it than with tequila drinks of all kinds! Tequila is a Mexican distilled spirit made from the agave plant, and it’s been produced since the 16th century. How’s that for a history? Over the years, many classic cocktails and drinks have evolved using this tasty liquor.
Here are all the best Cinco de Mayo drinks to celebrate the holiday, including margaritas and more! There are traditional Mexican cocktails like the Paloma and Chelada, and outside the box spins like the Mexican Mule or Ranch Water.
First up in our Cinco de Mayo drinks: the margarita pitcher! If you’re entertaining around a bowl of guacamole, you don’t want to have to stop every 5 minutes to squeeze and shake a new drink. The solution: a Margarita pitcher recipe. This one makes 8 drinks so you don’t have to stop the party. It’s based on our classic margarita, so it’s got no added sugar! Just citrus, Cointreau and tequila make the very best margarita pitcher recipe you’ll ever have.
Here’s a Cinco de Mayo drink that marries the perfect combination of pineapple, tequila and lime: the Pineapple Margarita! We’ve become experts in all the margarita recipes, from the classic to the more off-the-wall. And this juicy, fruity cocktail has become a favorite! The sweet pineapple goes hand in hand with the sharp bite of the tequila and zingy lime. Add Cointreau orange liqueur to the mix, and it’s a party. You need to add this to your cocktail repertoire…stat.
Palomas as perfect for Cinco de Mayo! Cousin of the margarita, this classic Mexican cocktail recipe features tequila with grapefruit instead of lime. Changing up the citrus makes for a simple sour that’s sweet tart and refreshing. The Paloma is traditionally made with grapefruit soda, but for an all natural spin this recipe uses grapefruit juice and soda water (and it’s easier to find!). Add a salt rim and you’re in business!
There’s a new cocktail that’s ready to take over Cinco de Mayo. Meet Ranch Water! Yes, Ranch Water is the unofficial drink of West Texas (so it's technically Tex Mex), essentially a tequila highball made with lime juice and Topo Chico. It’s like a bubbly, lighter version of the classic margarita, with all the tangy lime but less sweetness and booze. Could there be anything more refreshing?
If you want to impress, try this Tequila Sunrise! It’s beautiful and vibrant, with layered colors of a summer sunset. Here’s the best part: it’s so easy to make! All you need is 3 ingredients: and no special techniques or equipment! The flavor is refreshingly sweet, with just a hint of tequila.
Want to heat up your cocktail repertoire? Please meet: the Jalapeno margarita! Take a classic margarita and shake it up with a few jalapeño pepper slices. The pepper adds a backend kick that takes this favorite drink to new heights! At first sip it tastes crisp and tart, and then POW! It hits you on the backend! It’s got just the right amount of heat to mix things up, but not so much that it’s throat burning.
Want a fun spin on the margarita? Try a Cadillac Margarita! As the name implies, this is a sophisticated version of the margarita. Float Grand Marnier on top of your classic margarita and you’ve got the Cadillac. It has a nuanced flavor that will make everyone say, “Wow! What’s in this?” It’s a great way to step up your cocktail game with very little effort.
Looking for a signature Cinco de Mayo drink that’s sweet, tart, salty, and smoky all at once? Meet the Mezcal Paloma. This cocktail has everything you need in a drink. The sweetness of grapefruit juice contrasts the tart lime and bubbly soda water. Top it off with a background smokiness of mezcal and a salt rim, and it couldn’t be more fun. This spin on the Mexican Paloma is definitely worth adding to your collection: especially if you’re a mezcal fan.
Want a refreshing beer cocktail that’s as irresistible as it is easy to mix up? Try a Mexican-style Chelada! The Chelada is tangy and refreshing, infusing Mexican beer with irresistible zing of fresh lime juice. Top it off with a salty rim and it’s ideal Cinco de Mayo or anytime: a laid back brunch, cocktails on the patio, or a dinner of shrimp tacos.
Love margaritas and want a fruity spin? Try this tasty and refreshing variation: a Strawberry Margarita! This one is icy and fruity, full of berry flavor but perfectly complimented with tangy lime and the bite of tequila. The marg pairs perfectly with fruit. You'll in love with this berry spin and its vibrant red color and sweet tart flavor.
Can’t get enough tequila drinks for Cinco de Mayo? Here’s one of the best of them all — outside of the Classic Margarita, of course. Enter the Mexican mule! This drink is bold, it’s bubbly, and it’s ready to spice up your next gathering. A spin on the Moscow Mule, this tequila-based version might be even better than its inspiration. The way the bite of the tequila combines with spicy ginger and zingy lime makes it impossible not to immediately take another sip.
Ready for your new favorite drink? Frozen margaritas! This is a favorite entertaining trick. Who can turn down the sweet tart goodness of a frozen margarita? We’ve spent a while honing this one to make sure it’s the best frozen alcoholic drink imaginable.
If you’re not drinking micheladas: well then, you haven’t lived! The michelada is a spicy beer cocktail made with Mexican beer, tomato juice, lime juice and hot sauce. Consider it a sort of combination between a Bloody Mary and a beer margarita. The best part is the glass rim: a mix of Old Bay, chili powder and celery salt brings a salty, savory flair to the front end of this refreshing drink.
Want a margarita recipe with less calories? There’s a solution for that: the Skinny Margarita! Yes, a Skinny Margarita is a thing: it’s a lighter version of this classic drink. Here's the thing: this drink is extraordinarily tasty, too! Using lots of lime and orange juice and a little less liquor, it’s possible to make a margarita that tastes as good as the real thing (we think!).
Last up in our Cinco de Mayo drinks: the irresistibly smoky mezcal margarita. Adding the rich, smoky flavor of mezcal to a margarita is a no-brainer: it goes hand in hand with the tangy lime! One sip and you'll be sold. If you love smoky flavors and can handle a bit of boozy punch in your drinks, you’ll fall hard for this margarita. (Like we did!)
More Mexican drinks and tequila cocktails
There are lots more ideas where these come from! Here are a few more Mexican cocktails and tequila drinks to try:
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.